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Dog attacks

A dog attack is defined as:
“If a dog rushes at, attacks bites, harasses or chases any person or animal (other than vermin), whether or not any injury is caused to the person or animal”. (Section 16 of the Companion Animals Act, 1998 as amended by the Companion Animals Amendment Act, 2005)

It is important to understand that ANY dog can attack or bite. While it is true that certain breeds have traits that give a dog a lower threshold to biting or attacking, it does not mean all dogs of this breed will attack or bite. The media portray certain breeds as aggressive giving the misconception that all other breeds are safe. When the truth is that any dog can and may bite, even the loving family pet.

Who is most likely to get attacked by a dog

Approximately two thirds of all bites involve the family dog or a dog known to the victim. Young children are the most common victims with bites to the head and neck area. Animals such as cats, rabbits, other dogs and livestock often find themselves victims of attacks by roaming dogs. Research shows that many people who are attacked by a dog actually know the dog they are attacked by.

What to do if you are attacked by a dog

If you or another person has been injured by a dog attack, seek medical attention urgently. If an animal has been injured, transport the injured animal to the nearest Vet as soon as possible. Even minor wounds (on people or animals) can easily become infected without immediate attention.
Report the attack to the relevant authorities as soon as possible. Either NSW Police or Council.
The Police or Council will investigate all complaints of attacks by speaking with any witness who can give a statement. It is important that the witness can clearly explain the details of the incident. Therefore it may be useful to write down the details as soon as possible to ensure you don’t forget.

Who is responsible for medical bills or veterinary bills

The law states that the owner (or person in charge) of an attacking dog is liable for damages in respect of bodily injury to a person, damage to property of a person (including clothing) and/or veterinary bills in respect to injury (whether or not fatal) to another animal caused by a dog attacking or chasing it. In this respect, you should note that all claims for costs or damages are a civil matter and Council will not be able to assist in these proceedings.

This page was last updated on: 15 October 2018